Getting north round Guadaloupe

Wed 23 Apr 2008 01:08
16.05N 61.46W
Anse la Baroque, Guadaloupe
Leaving the marina at Pointe a Pietre, wind still from astern .. so tried to drift out of the berth, very slowly so we did not mess up the  rather posh and definately brand new 80 foot Swiss yacht next to us! Didn't quite work as planned! once the normal 50 footer released us on the other side the friction just dragged us into the big bugger: urgent fender job ... missed our mooring buoy by all of 2 inches...but still couldnt break free from the big un ... and now on a collision course with his anchor chain (out taught at a very shallow angle!) .. bit of urgent reverse thrust to slow down the inevitable crunch ... and pray .... over the chain we glided ... we weren't the only ones who couldn't believe  .. the skipper of the swiss yacht was beside himself  .. leaping up and down on his foredeck ... seconds later and we gave him our best French Au revoir a big wave and a huge grin (relief .. but he didn't know that!) So now retrace our steps round the south end of Guadaloupe to get up the west side to head north.
20 knots of wind and close reaching to the turning point then out with the pole and goose-wing down the channel ... wind increasing with the land effect. Gybe the pole and broad reach back to the west coast .. now wind up at 25 knots and going like a train through the short steep seas of the channel ... bow under water as much as over ... but little getting as far back as the cockpit ..... collected a shoal of very baby flying fish on deck ... and pushed on ... As we went up the west coast again land effect and the wind slowly dropped but we managed to keep moving ... when we noticed a yacht about a mile in front leaning ... the other way ... 30 minutes later we found out why ... as we tacked without changing course .. Annabel onto the mainsheet for constant trimming as we tacked .. then gybed .. broad reached close reached tacked gybed again ... and we hadn't changed course!!! ..
In the end we motored the last 30 minutes into the nice quiet bay; found Rob & Anne there on 'Crucial Coast' who had been on the Ocean Safety course with Syd almost exactly a year ago, so went over for drinks and a nice chat and some info on Columbia, where they'd lived for a few years.  Watched large group of road cyclists on the road round the bay (they even stopped the traffic!)- still typically french, as it was Sunday.  Had a reasonably interesting snorkel before setting off next day to Deshaies, (all of 13 miles up the coast) where we hoped to check out of Guadaloupe customs. And a repeat of the previous day .. by this time A getting quite good at trimming the main ...but we made it under wind power  .... just .. came into Deshaies bay at 18.20 to be met with a 25 knot wind blowing straight out of it! ... Torrential rain .. and as we motored around looking for a safe spot to drop the hook without fouling other anchored yachts, we thought we also recognised a face peeping out of turned up oilskin collars, over his spray hood, to check his anchor was still holding .. we thought it was someone we'd met on an ARC course.  ... what a waste of that piercing rain .. we just used it to wash the salt (and sweat) out of our sailing shorts and tee and shoes ... definite aroma improvement!
Mon 14 April - left early (still raining but only a little wind) and sailed up to Antigua.